Most small business owners will either tell you they have nothing to worry about as far as cybercrime is concerned or that their cyber security measures are working effectively. But, with every year that passes, cybersecurity breaches are on the rise against small businesses. More and more studies show that every business is susceptible to a cyberattack. More than half of small businesses experience varying degrees of data breach. In the light of this, more than 80% of small business owners still feel they do not have anything to worry about. If you are a small business owner, it is time you realised that cybersecurity is something you have to take seriously and that cyberattacks will only keep getting worse each year. Here are 7 ways you can improve your cyber security as a small business.
Create good password policies and implement them
Create good password procedures, one of which is the use of strong passwords containing numbers, letters and symbols. This way, you significantly reduce the chances of unwanted access to company data. Also, limit the number of administrator privileges and make sure whoever is cleared for them absolutely needs to be. Make it clear to all employees what is expected of them as far as creating their passwords is concerned. You can even organise periodic training in that regard.
Most businesses assume once their employees have made long passwords, they are safe. This is a false sense of security which opens you up to attacks. Have a password change protocol and if you will need to share your Wi-Fi with visitors, create a guest network so that you won't need to share your password with just anyone. You can also place fines on any employee who shares their password through insecure channels like social media, phone or email.
Train your employees to recognise risks
Never underestimate the influence your employees have in your fight against cyberattacks. Often when a business experiences a data breach, it is not through brute force. It is usually through employee carelessness in the form of inserting infected thumb drives and responding to phishing emails without understanding the implications.
If you are going to be ahead of any cyberattacks targeted at you, you have to lead your team along. Conduct periodic training with the goal of helping them recognise cyber security risks that are either remote or imminent.
Have a sound response and recovery plan
As a business, most of your documents will be confidential and they can pose a serious danger if they get into the wrong hands. Some of the attacks you will experience come in the form of employee impersonation where the cyberterrorist requests certain documents or information from another employee. Have a standardised response plan for these events. For instance, make it a policy that documents should be requested in person within your organisation. This way everyone knows how to proceed.
In the event they eventually fall into the wrong hands, you need to have a sound recovery plan. If you are attacked by a type of malware like ransomware, the situation would be to give up a piece of information or money for their return. In most cases, you have to do a total system restore and it would be beneficial if you already have a recovery plan in place.
Most businesses back up their most critical data for the first few months after they launch, but subsequently begin lagging behind. If you want to improve your cyber security, create a system that automatically backs up your critical documents like financial data, customer account details, and so on. This practice will allow your business to continue operating even in the event of a major attack. Cybercrimes can be crippling for businesses. Some not only cost you a fortune but can be the end of your business. Frequent backup of important files is one way to shield yourself from such an impact.
Update your anti-virus software regularly
As a small business owner, you are likely going to be very strict about your budget, which is good. However, the mistake most small business owners make is to think that the most important expenses are the ones made towards more pressing concerns. Make sure your system is properly secured with an up-to-date antivirus. This augments other cyber security measures you have put in place.
The cost of controlling the damage caused by poor system virus protection significantly outweighs the cost of regularly updating it. When updating this software, make sure all your systems are properly covered including mobile devices that contain sensitive company data.
Guard against phishing attacks
Phishers trick you into giving them your passwords using links that look like legitimate websites. The havoc they wreak is significant, as victims only realise what has happened long after the attacker is gone. They mostly come in the forms of phishing for passwords and spear phishing. The most important way to guard against these attacks is by planning ahead for them.
There are some measures to put in place to guard against them. Make use of password managers with autofill and verify the authenticity of an email from the sender through a different medium, like calls. Simply put a call across and have them confirm they are the sender. If your job requires you to constantly receive files from unknown persons, like journalists, open all suspicious documents with Google drive.
Run a periodic test on your infrastructure
When it comes to your cybersecurity, it is not enough to put in measures and forget about them. You need to constantly test for vulnerabilities in your system. The fight is not a one-off exercise. It is important for you to be prepared for every contingency. There are service providers that can visit your business and help you try hacking your system. Once they detect any risk, they help you resolve it before a cyber terrorist uses it against you.
These days, small businesses are targets of cybercrimes even more than big businesses. The change in this trend is partly due to their lax cybersecurity awareness. There is no better time than now for small businesses to patronise VPN vendors.